PM Douglas ‘exercised restraint, patience, command, control and leadership’ at Town Hall Meeting disrupted by PAM’s Deputy Political Leader

Hon. Eugene Hamilton at the front of the Town Hall Meeting

BASSETERRE,ST. KITTS, NOVEMBER 13TH 2012 (CUOPM) – St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas said he exercised restraint, patience, command, control and leadership, during a despicable attempt by the Hon. Eugene Hamilton, an opposition party leader of the People’s Action Movement (PAM) last Thursday who disrupted and attempted to end a government-planned meeting prematurely.

The Towm Hall Meeting at the Cayon Community Centre was the third one organised by the Office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Sustainable Development to address issues related to debt restructuring and future land use for housing, agriculture and economic development.

Less than two hours after Dr. Douglas warned in the National Assembly that the security forces had information that attempts will be made by the Peoples Action Movement (PAM) to disrupt the proceedings, Mr. Hamilton, PAM’s Deputy Political Leader, given an opportunity to ask questions said he will mash up the meeting if he is not allowed to address it and then walked out with the microphone.

Responding to comments made by Mr. Keith Maynard during the weekly radio call-in programme “Ask the Prime Minister” on Tuesday, Prime Minister Douglas said he does not support his views that he (Maynard) had expressed.

“I am a little appalled at some of the comments that this incident has attracted, with regards to certain people failing to condemn Mr. Hamilton for what he did. I am not going to accept any blame for what Mr. Hamilton and I do not support the caller in saying that I played into his hands. If I had allowed the meeting to descend into confusion, where supporters obviously of the government being present, had taken the law into their own hands and dealt with him, then of course I would have played into his hands. But the meeting continued. In fact, he (Hamilton) was allowed to leave the main hall with the mike, but that did not stop the Town Hall Meeting from continuing,” said Prime Minister Douglas.

Dr. Douglas indicated that he had made it clear just before he went to the Town Hall meeting at the closing of Parliament that “I had received information from the security forces, that there were plans by the People’s Action Movement to disrupt the meeting. I said it publicly, and what I found was so bold about Mr. Hamilton, was to come into a meeting that I had organised as the Prime Minister and the Leader of Government, and he actually said to me if he is not allowed to make a statement, he will end the meeting. I thought that this guy has to be crazy, but I allowed myself to be restrained. I exercised patience and control, because I knew that if I had not demonstrated command and leadership at that time, the whole thing would have descended into confusion and it is because I knew I had been warned, why I did what I did.”

After Mr. Hamilton began to walk out of the room with the microphone, Prime Minister Douglas asked persons to take the mike from Hamilton and escort him outside.

Hon. Eugene Hamilton walking out of the Town Hall Meeting with the microphone

“That is all I said. So I do not understand what the caller is saying to me, that I played into his hands. If I had refused him to speak on the microphone then I would have played into his hands, but even when he was not allowed to ask the first question and a responder who was at the meeting gave him the mike, I could have objected, but I did not, I allowed him to ask the question, simply because I respected him as the parliamentary representative. But you can’t come into my meeting and say you want to make a statement,” said Dr. Douglas.

He said no one should equate Hamilton’s position with the position that was being held, by the other two meetings that I had by his other two ministers of government.

“In the first instance, in the Lodge meeting, the Honourable Dr. Timothy Harris was a member of the panel and was invited as a member of the panel to make his remarks and likewise in Half Way Tree, the Honourable Glen Phillip was a member of the panel. Mr. Hamilton is no member of my panel,” said Prime Minister Douglas.

He pointed out that Mr. Hamilton has been having his own series of town hall meetings.

“He did not invite me to any of his meetings, and he didn’t invite me to speak at any of his meetings. So how the heck you (Hamilton) want to come into my meeting and want to take my mike and say you want to make statements?”

“Even though he did that, I did not even get into any loss of cool. I just simply said ‘ask your question’. Of course, you can preamble. If he was smart enough he would have preamble his question as everybody does, but he did not want to give any preamble, he wanted as he said to ‘end the meeting.’ He came there to end the meeting. That was the intention and as a result of knowing what his intention was, I exercised patience and control, and leadership and the meeting continued,” the Prime Minister explained.

Dr. Douglas said he regards the Town Hall Meeting in Cayon “the largest meeting and the best meeting to date that we have had.’

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